In the event of layoffs in Indian IT firms, what could be some possible other options for techies?
I happen to be a product of Indian IT. Having lived and worked in a dozen countries across across three continents, I have seen layoffs and its impact up-close.
The question is very apt and timely given the news accounts of ‘thousands’ of layoffs by Indian IT Firms. (My2cents on that topic “What is the reason behind the layoffs in IT firms in India? Is it related to the H-1B visa, or some other reason?”) Although the Indian media is fixated on the term ‘layoff,’ some of it is voluntary headcount reduction etc.
In the short-term, layoff is hard. Loosing a job is hard for obvious reasons. However, I have also seen many successful guys and ladies use the opportunity for self-reflection.
If you are (relatively) young and happen to be laid off, you should begin by reflecting on your career thus far - you may realize that jumping back to yet another coding, software engineering or project management role is not really your cup of tea. Listen to your inner self
- Reboot and re-learn. Those of us in the field of IT know that it is important to continue to learn new skills and techniques. Use this opportunity to reflect on your experiences, research the market and try to learn the new technologies. To gain some hands-on experiences, you should try to contribute to open source community (e.g code in Github, answer queries in tech forums and be recognized as an ‘expert’ among your peers)
- Explore a career in other fields, especially if your degree is from a non-CS field. For example, if you are a Civil-Engineer by training, you could explore a second career with a large builder (There is a lot of investment in infrastructure projects!)
- Join the government/public service - If you are under a certain age-limit, you can apply for civil services, UPSC or other exams. Assuming you have saved some money in the years in IT, you will be surprised that even the government pays well!
- Pursue higher education and career in academia - India needs a lot more teachers, professors and educators with good backgrounds and a passion to serve
- Revisit your true passion - You may have other talents like arts, craft, writing or even urge to be socially active. Assuming you have some savings, you should ask yourself if this is the time to peruse a passion in social service or art full-time.
- Entrepreneurial urge - The startup scene in India is vibrant. Those with an entrepreneurial urge may find this is the right time to explore such opportunities and take a risk.
I realize the advice highlighted earlier is too broad.
Your age (career level, and personal circumstances) and another criteria are sure to weigh in. For example, if you are an entry level software engineer, you may be inclined to take some risks and also explore other opportunities like joining the civil-service. Mid-career professionals may find it harder to switch (though I have seen a number my mid-career colleagues switch and pursue their dreams)
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